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Lake Whatcom Park - Chanterelle Trail

Puget Sound and Islands > Bellingham Area
48.7302, -122.3090 Map & Directions
Length
4.8 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
1000 feet
Highest Point
1314 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate
The Lake Whatcom Park – Chanterelle Trail is just 20 minutes outside of Bellingham. Photo by ejain. Full-size image
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Old growth
  • Summits
  • Good for kids
  • Fall foliage

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

Enjoy a steep trail to a summit east of Lake Whatcom with gorgeous views of Puget Sound and the surrounding mountains. Continue reading

Rating
4.29 out of 5

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Hiking Lake Whatcom Park - Chanterelle Trail

Unlike its flat, lakeside cousin the Hertz trail, the Chanterelle Trail is 2.4 miles with 1000 feet of elevation gain on long switchbacks through a mix of forest types, supporting a variety of wildlife. The views make it worth the effort, ending with a breath-taking vista of Lake Whatcom, the Cascade foothills, Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands.

In the second-growth Douglas fir forest among gurgling streams you’ll likely find a variety of woodland and aquatic species. In the winter birders have spotted chestnut-backed chickadee, golden-crowned kinglet and varied thrush followed by evening grosbeak and white-crowned sparrow, Hutton’s vireo and rufous hummingbird in the spring.

As you pause to take in glimmering lake views, you’ll likely also see common merganser and horned grebe in the winter months. In the summer, birders have spotted Pacific-slope flycatcher, Swainson’s thrush, western tanager, common yellowthroat, black-headed grosbeak and warbling vireo.

With their leaves gone, the tree branches create a lacework overlay of the panorama from the hillside as you ascend, making winter a great time to visit this trail. 

Hikers can create something of a loop by descending (or ascending) via the Wickersham Road. This makes the hike longer, but it's a gentler grade. As more trails are built here though, more loop options or longer hikes may emerge.

NOTE ON THE AREA

In 2014, with facilitation by Whatcom Land Trust and a number of other organizations, approximately 8,800 acres of second-growth forest and stream habitat on the east and west sides of Lake Whatcom were transferred from the Department of Natural Resources to Whatcom County.

The land is immediately adjacent to Lake Whatcom so this move not only created the seventh largest local park in the U.S., it also protects the water quality of the lake, which serves as the drinking water supply for half of Whatcom County, including all of Bellingham.

The county is managing the area for non-motorized recreation with running, hiking, biking and horseback trails that connect neighborhoods and communities through forests that will eventually mature into old-growth ecosystems. WTA has been developing the trail system here since then, with annual work parties in partnership with several local and state agencies. 

WTA worked here in 2019 and 2017!

Hike Description Written by
Lorraine Wilde - Whatcom Land Trust, WTA Community

Lake Whatcom Park - Chanterelle Trail

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.7302, -122.3090 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Bellingham, follow North Shore Drive to Lake Whatcom Park and choose the first parking lot available.  There is a kiosk there with directions for both Chanterelle Trail which climbs the mountain and the Hertz Trail which follows the lakeshore.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Puget Sound and Islands > Bellingham Area

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

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Lake Whatcom Park - Chanterelle Trail

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